C H A N D I G A R H   S T O R I E S




Three city lads make it to national junior hockey
G. S. Paul/TNS

Chandigarh, October 10
Three players with the Chandigarh Hockey Academy, Sector 42, have made it to the National Junior Hockey team for the forthcoming international Hockey Challenge tournament to be held at Singapore from October 17 to 21.

Rupinderpal, Dharamveer and Harman are at a coaching camp for the tournament at Nehru Stadium, Gurgaon. The three talked to this correspondent on the phone. “We are in the ‘Chak De….’ spirit and are determined to put our city on the global map,” said Dharamveer.

Dharamveer is among the most promising players of the academy. He has participated in international tournaments earlier too.

For Harman and Rupinderpal, it is their first big event. “We will not let down the selectors and make all efforts to make our presence felt on foreign shores” Equally excited was their coach Jasbir S Bajwa, who has great expectations from his boys.

“All three are consistent performers and have the calibre of world-class players”.

The three are a rare combination of speed, stamina and skill .

His guru mantra? “I have taught them to be mentally tough. This is their first step towards the big league. I am sure they will make the city proud with their skillful stick work,” he said.

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Clean up Sukhna; repair roads: Mehra
Rajmeet Singh
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
The UT adviser, Pradip Mehra, has set the agenda for his staff with focus on issues relating to the public. Officials heading various departments of the Chandigarh administration are being made answerable for the progress of various projects they supervise.

Today’s weekly meeting of the UT officials had on ‘agenda’ accountability. The officials in the engineering department, Chandigarh Housing Board, municipal corporation and other departments were asked reasons for the delay in taking administrative decisions concerning the people, sources said.

The UT engineering department and MC officials were asked to remove wild growth on road berms and clean up and develop the neglected area in and around the Sukhna lake. Other issues of discussion were maintenance of roads in the southern sectors, an increase in the number of community centres, functional street lighting, widening of the Madhya Marg, improvement of parking areas in the markets, repairing of toilets in schools and colleges and use of uniform sign boards in government offices.

“Earlier such decisions were taken in the past and reviewed. But there was no follow-up. It is to be seen whether the change of guard would prove beneficial for the city residents”, observed an official.

In case of the incomplete project of Beant Singh memorial, the officials have been asked to develop the unused land as a park.

It is learnt that the engineering department and the municipal corporation have been asked to come out with a proposal within 15 days to widen all the V6 roads in the city.

To bridge the gap between the northern and southern sectors, officials have been told to repair all the damaged roads in the southern sectors and make the street lights functional.

The Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) has been asked to come out with a housing scheme for UT employees within two weeks.

“The underlining message is that the new incumbent wants a result-oriented team”, said sources.

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Cop held for taking bribe in dowry case
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Sleuths of the CBI today caught red-handed a constable of the Chandigarh police while allegedly accepting a bribe from a Himachal Pradesh resident for favouring him in a complaint lodged against him. The constable, Kaka Singh, is posted at the Women and Child Support Unit (WACSU) of the Chandigarh police.

Sources in the CBI said Kaka Singh demanded bribe on behalf of SI J.P. Singh, the inquiry officer in a dowry harassment complaint lodged against Paramjit Singh of Nahan.

Paramjit Singh said he was having a dispute with his wife and she had filed complaints against him. However, they resolved the issue mutually and his wife had submitted an affidavit claiming that she was neither beaten nor harassed for dowry. The police official called him on September 27 saying that his wife had demanded maintenance and Rs 5 lakh. Later they called him on October 3 and Kaka Singh took Rs 2,000 from him, saying that if he paid Rs 15000, he would not be booked in the case.

Fed up with their demands, Paramjit reported the matter to the CBI and a trap was laid. Kaka Singh was arrested. JP Singh escaped.

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After 9 years, charges framed against Jerath
Swati Sharma

Chandigarh, October 10
After nine years, finally charges were framed against former UT chief engineer K.K. Jerath and five others in the kickback case in the court of Additional and Sessions Judge Raj Rahul Garg here today.

A case was registered in October 1998, against Jerath, A.S. Dhingra and S.S. Bhatti who were executive engineers, S.C. Katyal, superintendent engineer, late Nand Ram, superintendent, and Kans Raj, dealing assistant. They have been charged with breach of trust, forgery, fraud and criminal conspiracy.

According to the FIR, the accused were booked under Sections 406 and 420 of the IPC but these Sections have been dropped. Jerath, Dhingra and civil contractor Tarsem Lal Singla were arrested for serious irregularities in the allotment of various works of the Sector 32 GMCH. — TNS

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Ultrasound clinic sealed
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 10
The district health authorities today sealed Sood Ultrasound Centre, Sector 10, for running tests on determining the gender of a foetus in lieu of a payment of Rs 5,000.

Dr M.L Garg, who headed the team constituted by civil surgeon Dr Kamla Singh to expose the malpractice at the centre, said the department was tipped off by Raj Kumar, a resident of Industrial Area.

“He came to us on September 29 and complained that the centre in Sector 10 was demanding Rs 5,000 to carry out a sex-determination test on his expecting wife. We decided to look into the matter. We offered to pay the money to him if he agreed to act as our decoy,” Dr Garg said.

Raj Kumar went with signed notes in a wad of Rs 5,000 to the centre the same day. “The doctor asked him to deposit Rs 4,000 in the morning and come back for the test in the evening when he would be required to pay Rs 1,000. He did as told.

“ However, after the ultrasound, Dr D.P. Sood told him that the sex of the child could not be determined and he should return after 10 days,” the doctor explained.

The health officials decided to keep the matter under wraps till then. They asked Raj Kumar to give them a missed call from his cell phone as soon as the doctor told him the test report.

Raj Kumar took his wife to the centre at 6 pm this evening. An ultrasound was carried out on her and she was told that she would have a boy. Raj Kumar gave a missed call to the officials waiting outside, who immediately went in and recorded the statements of Raj Kumar and his wife Saroj.

The doctor attending to them, Dr Meenakshi Sood, denied carrying out the test.

The health officials sealed the ultrasound machine at the centre and the room where it was kept in the presence of civil surgeon Dr Kamla Singh.

A criminal case will be filed against the doctor in court tomorrow.

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COMMUNITY
 

Bearing the cross of a toothless child labour law
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News service

For this child working at a construction site in a Chandigarh village, the first anniversary of modified child labour prohibition and regulation act means nothing.
Business as usual: For this child working at a construction site in a Chandigarh village, the first anniversary of modified child labour prohibition and regulation act means nothing. — Tribune photo by Parvesh Chauhan

Chandigarh, October 10
On the first anniversary of modified Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, it was business as usual for 11-year-old Ramesh. His day did not dawn any brighter; his task was not any easier.

Like any other day, he was up at 7 am, heading straight for the construction site, this time at Kansal, barely 2 km from the Punjab and Haryana Secretariats. Here, his parents recently found work after a month of unemployment.

“Together we make Rs 130 a day, sometimes even lesser. It’s never enough for the 12 members of our family. If I stop working, our daily earnings will be reduced by Re 30, which is lot of money for us. I have to work, there’s no option,” says the little one, unmindful of the slew of laws passed by the Government of India to identify, protect and rehabilitate child workers like him.

But a year after the Act was made more stringent to incorporate penalties for employers, nothing has changed on ground. Across Chandigarh, Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Rajasthan and other states, children continue to work in recreational centres as also in several hazardous trades like construction, rag picking, handloom etc.

The Government of India’s implementation report on the law confirms that the law is in tatters. Most states have no idea how many children are employed in what kinds of trades. The law clearly prohibits employment of children below 14 years in domestic and other occupations like dhabas, restaurants, hotels, motels, tea shops, resorts and other recreational centres. Those caught employing children are to be punished with one-year imprisonment or a fine of Rs 10,000 or both.

But strangely, in one year of the existence of the law, Punjab conducted just 1142 inspections to check the violations. It detected 162 violations but nominally punished only 23 offenders. Haryana fared poorly by holding 434 inspections; it, however, punished all six offenders it found.

In Chandigarh, says the GOI status report on the law’s implementation, 71 inspections were conducted in a year. Ironically, no violation was noticed, naturally no one was punished. Never mind the fact that children still work at tea vending stalls right next to the UT Secretariat in Sector 9 and close to major government establishments like the district courts in Sector 17.

Statistics regarding the implementation of law are poor in Delhi and Rajasthan as well.

Not that the law matters to children like Ramesh and others like Muzammil, all of 13, who was forced to leave his village in Uttar Pradesh due to the fear of dacoits. He works at a tea vending stall close to district courts in Sector 17, Chandigarh. And then there is 10-year-old Ibrahim, from Bihar, trafficked to Haryana three years ago. After working as a domestic help in Panchkula for three years, he recently escaped and started working as a waste picker.

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Need to conduct study on minorities: Kidwai

Chandigarh, October 10
Applauding the Sachar Committee Report as a remarkable document, Governor A.R. Kidwai yesterday said the report clearly studied the problems of the minority community and suggested that there was need to conduct similar studies for other minorities and tribals as it would give a holistic approach to development.

An official presentation on the follow-up action on the recommendations of the Sachar Committee Report on the social, economic and educational status of the Muslim community in India was made by A. Luikham, joint secretary, Ministry of Minority Affairs, at the Centre for Research in Rural and Industrial Development (CRRID).

Highlighting various features of the report, Lukiham threw light on the recommendations made and the follow-up action taken on several issues like skill development, access to credit, improving access to education, exclusive schemes for minorities and their social inclusion.

The Governor chaired the presentation and stressed on the need for combining traditional and modern madrasa learning as well as giving technical education to Muslims as it would economically gear up the community.

Former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, Justice S.S. Sodhi, said harmony had to be maintained in the country. Dr Rashpal Malhotra, director general, CRRID, said previous studies showed that communal riots took place due to the vested interests of some people. — TNS

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Make Chandigarh heritage city: Ruegg
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
“Chandigarh should be a heritage city and deserves to be on the list of UNESCO’s heritage cities of the world,” said Prof Arthur Ruegg from ETH, Zurich, and a Corbusier scholar of repute.

At Chandigarh College of Architecture to make a presentation on “Le Corbusier: Colour in Architecture” today, Prof Arthur maintained that proper policies should be framed to get the city its worthy status.

Denying that much tampering has been done with Le Corbusier’s master plan of the city, he stated that a little bit of changes are acceptable. “In fact, with time, changes have to be incorporated but at the same time, the architecture of the city has to be respected. The proposed museum of knowledge is the best solution,” he asserted.

Fascinated most with the upper chamber of the Punjab Assembly’s building, Ruegg is also impressed with the orderliness of the buildings in City Beautiful. “Chandigarh has a beautiful ensemble of Le Corbusier’s buildings which is missing in Switzerland.”

Denying the misconception that the city was over crowded, Arthur opined that the city could be denser but developing the underdeveloped areas is an art, which should be done in a proper way.

Drawing the commonalities between Switzerland and Chandigarh, he said, “Both the cities have a strong Corbusier’s influence on them.”

Suggesting that the Capitol Complex be made more tourist friendly, he said, “May be there should be one or two eateries for the convenience of the visitors.”

Patrick Gmuer, another Swiss architect, also made a presentation on “Recent Polychromatic Architecture in Switzerland”.

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Inquiry into poor upkeep sought
Tribune News Service

Panchkula, October 10
The president of the Punjabi Mahasabha, Hemant Kinger, today, demanded an inquiry into the poor maintenance of the city’s basic amenities despite availability of funds and staff.

Addressing a press conference, here today, he said as per records supplied to him under the Right To Information Act, there were 1600 employees available in various divisions of the Haryana Urban Development Authority at different posts. He claimed that despite Rs 1.30 crores being disbursed as salaries to the staff, maintenance in the city was absolutely nil.

“Whether its mounds of garbage, removal of congress grass, water supply maintenance, maintenance of gardens or tubelights, the HUDA staff has failed on all fronts. This needs a high-level inquiry. I have written to the vigilance cell of HUDA, met the chief administrator and apprised all officials about the state-of-affairs in the city,” Kinger said.

While stating that the lack of execution of works on ground amounts to huge financial loss to the exchequer which is paying the salaries of the staff, he alleged that a number of employees were only being used to “serve” the bosses at their homes. “Even if we think that 300 employees are engaged in maintaining gardens at the residences of senior officers and helping in household chores, where are the remaining 1300? At least they should be seen working in the city but that is not the case as anybody can see,” Kinger added.

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MC chief, EO appear before Bains
Our Correspondent

Mohali, October 10
Arguments of both president and executive officer of the MC were heard today by the principal secretary, local government, regarding a show-cause notice issued to the president on charges of misuse of powers. The decision was reserved.

Rajinder Singh Rana was issued a notice in June and asked to appear in person on August 22. But the arguments were not heard as principal secretary D.S. Bains was away to Delhi.

Both Rana and the EO J.S. Thind appeared before Bains a couple of times, but the case was put off each time.

In the notice issued to Rana, it was stated that the president should explain why action should not be taken against him on charges of misuse of powers.

It was alleged that Rana had transferred three employees of the civic body when he had no powers to do so. It was alleged that he had illegally postponed tenders relating to sanitation work. Rana, however, maintained he had acted according to rules.

Rana said he had given a demi-official letter to the principal secretary, requesting him to help vacate the stay on estimates of various works so that development could continue in the town.

He said a cricket match would be held next month in the town and as such the area around the stadium needed to be spruced up, but the civic body was helpless till the stay was removed.

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2,000 UT officials got passes for ODI
Akash Ghai
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
More than 2,000 complimentary passes were distributed among officials of various departments by the HCA for the October 8 ODI, said a senior functionary of the administration.

While senior functionaries got seats in the VIP blocks, those holding lower positions in got “free passes” in other blocks. This belies the claims of the authorities that government offices functioned “normally” on the day.

According to a senior official, the HCA sent the passes for all blocks to the administration on Saturday late evening. Senior officials were asked to distribute these among the staff which had “contributed to the uplift of the stadium prior to the match”. The passes were not distributed at random. Lists were prepared for the purpose.

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City roads ailing
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Concern for safety and convenience of the commuters does not seem to figure on the agenda of the UT engineering department.

The slip road near the roundabout of Sectors 20-30-33-34 was recently carpeted. However, the engineering department has again blocked it partially as a portion of the road has sunk in near a manhole.

Instead of putting a proper road sign of diversion, broken paver blocks have been used to block the damaged portion of the road.

Besides this, no efforts had been made to shift a street light pole that stands in the middle of the road. The pole remains a traffic bottleneck besides posing a danger to the lives of the commuters.

A part of the roundabout of Sector 29-30-31-32 also remains uncovered. It has been over a month when the section was dug up to repair a leaking joint of a water supply line. The problem has been continuing for over last 25 years. It had erupted at the same point less than four months back also.

The point has now become a traffic bottleneck, resulting in frequent accidents.

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School student falls; in PGI

Chandigarh, October 10
A plus two student of the non-medical stream of DAV Senior Secondary School, Sector 8, Ajay Rana, allegedly fell from the terrace of his hostel late last night. He was admitted to the PGI. Sources said Rana, was trying to scale the wall to go out and meet his friends when he slipped and fell.

The school authorities said Rana fell down the stairs and injured himself. DPI (Schools) S.K. Setia said DEO Chanchal Singh had visited the boy at the PGI. We will look into the incident and an inquiry will be marked if needed, he added. — TNS

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FCI staff defer dharna
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Employees of the Food Corporation of India (FCI), Punjab region, decided to defer their dharna, scheduled for October 11.

Yogesh Jairath, state organising secretary of Bhartiya Khadya Nigam Karamchari Sangh, Chandigarh, said the sangh held a meeting with the executive director, North Zone, Noida, on October 8. The executive directior had given an assurance to accept all genuine demands of the union. So the union had decided to defer its proposed dharna.

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‘Transgenic food safe’
Tribune News service

Chandigarh, October 10
The food produced out of transgenics is free from all bacterial or any donor’s genes and when assessed and screened at different stages of its evolution and further approved by the constitutional agencies is safe beyond any doubt.

This was stated here today by Dr Gary F Hartnell, senior fellow at Monsanto in St Louis, Missouri, USA, who is doing comprehensive work on transgenics, while delivering a special lecture on “Role of biological sciences in future and their safety assessment” at the Department of Botany, PU.

Addressing postgraduate students and faculty members of the department, he enumerated the advent of transgenics at the global level during the past 25 years.

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Letters
Are vehicles safe in parking lots?

In Chandigarh there are two types of parking - one is paid where you have to pay the parking fee and get token and second is free parking where you can park without paying any thing.

Recently, there was news in the newspapers that in some paid parking lots, bikes are being stolen, parts of the vehicles are removed and money is stolen from cars under the very nose of the contractor’s men.

On the other hand, there is no report of any theft from free parking lots.

This means that either the contractor’s men connive with the thieves or they are simply too careless to let thefts take place.

The important aspect is that it is clearly mentioned on the parking slips that the contractor is not responsible for any theft of any article kept in vehicle or any damage caused to the vehicles in the parking lots. The conditions are also displayed in the parking lots.

If the contractor is not responsible for the vehicles or things kept inside them, then for what is he charging the money? Has the Chandigarh municipal committee any answer for this?

G.K.Chopra, Chandigarh

Readers are invited to write to us. Send your mail, in not more than 200 words, at news@tribuneindia.com or, write in, at: Letters, Chandigarh Tribune, Sector 29, Chandigarh – 160 030

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CRIME
 

Clash over servant leaves 4 students injured
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, October 10
Four students were injured in a clash between two groups of students in Sector 51 last night. Both parties were armed with rods and sharp-edged weapons.

The injured were rushed to the Sector 32 Government Medical College and Hospital, where one of them was operated upon. Both parties were living in as paying guests in the same locality.

The police said an argument over a servant led to the clash. Inspector Prem Lal Chahan said Rahul Ahuja, a B.Tech student of the Tangori-based engineering college in Mohali, lodged a complaint alleging that Rahul Angola, Rishi Bhatt, Vikramdeep Singh, Gagandeep Singh and Sukhdeep, all residents of Sector 51, had attacked him outside his residence.

He told the police that his friends, Ankit Chauhan, Nitish Sharma and Sukhdev Singh, who lived with him in rented accommodation, had suffered injuries in the assault.

A case of rioting, causing hurt and criminal intimidation has been registered. Rahul Angola was arrested last night. The other accused are at large.

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Three vehicles stolen from city
Our Correspondent

Chandigarh, October 10
Three vehicles, including a goods carrier, were stolen from the city.

Hemant Kumar of Manimajra in a complaint to the police alleged that his motorcycle (CH-03-V-0244) was stolen from Leisure Valley in Sector 10 on Tuesday. In another incident, Ishant Sudhar of Sector 44 reported to police that his Bajaj Pulsar motorcycle (HR-20-2990) was stolen from his residence on Monday.

Similarly, Surjit Singh of Sector 49 filed a complaint with the police alleging that his Tata four-wheeler ACE (CH-23-(T)-7548) was stolen from Sector 52 on September 26.

Three separate cases of thefts under Section 379, IPC, have been registered at various police stations in the city.

Assault

Gurdarshan Singh of Sector 38 lodged a complaint with the police alleging that Ashok Kumar of Sector 8 assaulted and threatened him on Friday night. A case under Sections 325 and 506, IPC, has been registered at the Sector 39 police station.

Gambling

The local police arrested Raghu, Raj Pal and Kishan Pal, all residents of Bapu Dham Colony, on Tuesday for allegedly indulging in gambling at a public place. The police seized Rs 530 from their possession. A case under the Gambling Act has been registered at the Sector 26 police station.

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